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Small cabin, big grants


Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin effort gets $115,000 in grants in two weeks and $365,000 to date; just shy of goal

Within the past two weeks, the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin Project received $115,000 in grants, putting the project just $35,000 shy of its total goal.

The project received a Helen E. Austin Pioneer Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation matching grant for $15,000, which was then matched a week later with $100,000 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. In addition to the two grants, the Murdock Trust also offered a $50,000 top-off grant, which needs to be matched.

“That’s amazing,” said Judy Van Atta, museum director. “We need $35,000, which will pretty much finish off our $400,000 project.”

The relocation of the cabin from the banks of the Willamette River began in November 2013, to protect the house from sliding into the river. The components of the cabin were numbered and disassembled. The cabin is undergoing reassembly at a new location adjacent to the Robert Newell House Museum and near the Champoeg State Heritage Area. by: GARY ALLEN - Making headway - After receiving $115,000 in new grant funding, organizers expect that reconstruction of the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin will make strides this summer, with the exterior completion in July. Ethan Isabelle (left) and Adam Leckie of Arciform continued work on the cabin recently.

“The logs are almost all the way up and because we’ve got weddings, we’ve got landscaping on a portion,” Van Atta said. “We should start work on the roof after the Fourth of July. It’ll take a little bit to engineer the framing; we’re actually having an engineered roof so it’ll have insulation. I’m anticipating that will take six to eight weeks.”

The reassembly puts the timeline on track for an exterior completion in July, which would make the cabin to be water tight by winter.

“Hopefully I anticipate we will be done sometime in October,” Van Atta said, just a little less than a year since starting the massive project.

To obtain the remaining funds, Van Atta said there are a couple more grants she’s waiting to hear back on, but they will also fundraise in the meantime.

“We have a 1930s dinner dance Aug. 3 to celebrate. It’s been 85 years since they originally started building the cabin to this year when we are rebuilding the cabin,” she said. There will also be a pancake breakfast on Labor Day.

“The community really has been supportive of us, and we appreciate that,” she said.

For more information about the project or future events, visit www.newell house.com.